HP Inc is betting on device-as-aservice and 3D printing to grow faster, even as it pushes for innovation in its core PC and printer businesses. CEO Dion Weisler told ET that one-third of the PCs it sells worldwide are sold here, while he looks at the remaining two-thirds as a business opportunity. Excerpts:
India is planning to set up exclusive manufacturing zones. Are you interested?
We are always re-evaluating our manufacturing footprint. We operate in 170 countries around the world and (we have) a very complicated manufacturing footprint to serve those customers. What products do they manufacture? Where do we do our R&D? These things are constantly under evaluation. If you ever stop doing that, you miss opportunity.
What has been the impact of the US-China trade dispute on your plans?
We closely monitor the situation and when changes happen, we make adjustments. We have had three tranches of tariffs that were announced. We’ve adapted to all of those challenges, including the latest one, from 10% to 25%. We’ve taken a position where we don’t chase ghosts. It’s not interesting to contemplate things that may happen in the future. Of course, we plan for them, should they happen, but we don’t deal with them until they do.
What’s the opportunity for India?
Not only is the market large today, in and of itself, but its potential is enormous. We’re very focused on making sure that we can bring relevant products to market, thinking beyond just the large cities. We are participating in Digital India. We’ve been doing that… for example, turning physical documents into digital files, and we would have done over a billion pages. Whether it’s consumer, whether it’s in government, or whether it’s an enterprise or in SMEs, we see enormous potential in India.
What is your local manufacturing plans?
We think about the market in totality. We do R&D in the country. Where and how we manufacture the products — we’re always evaluating. I never try to pin myself down to answering that question (of manufacturing) because it suggests that you’re standing still. I don’t want to stand still. I want to take the opportunities as we see them and respond to them appropriately.
Your device-as-a-service offering is increasing. At some point, do you think your overall capacity to manufacture will reduce?
Actually, it increases because you are providing different business models that are more attractive to customers. We have been doing management services in printing for 15 years. And, when we speak to many CIOs and C-level executives, they don’t want to have these assets on their balance sheet.
They want the ability to change it quickly so they can leverage new technology. So, if you’re an animation studio, why buy a workstation for five months planning it as an asset for five years, when after two years, all your competitors are trying to raise the bar in terms of how can they make the next movie even more spectacular. Why don’t you offer that as a service so that you can actually move them through technology faster.
What are the two or three technology trends you see globally?
We’re seeing that mobile phone usage has stopped its growth trajectory and so are tablets. On the other hand, PCs are increasing in usage, because people are using them for multiple things — compex tasks, using it for entertainment and collaboration. When I was growing up, all I wanted was a car and a licence. My kids don’t want that, they want my credit card so they can take an Uber whenever they like, because they interested in the outcome. We’re thinking about ‘how do we change our business models to enable everything as a service’ — PCs as a service, print as a service. We’re also preparing the company for the future, with things like 3D printing and virtual reality.
You are betting huge on 3D printing?
Today, the overall market is around $5 billion. It has the potential to unlock a $12 trillion manufacturing industry. It’s not going to happen overnight. But what we’re seeing is real progress, and real manufacturing. If I think back just four years ago, when the team showed me the very first part, a chain link was a quarter of a pound. They attached this to a crane that carried a car and then one of the engineers who worked on it stood underneath the car. That’s a pretty confident engineer, right? It has the tensile strength of metal. It was the very first part we created. Fast forward to last quarter, we announced a partnership with smile direct club. This is disruptive. This is application. These guys take a scan of your mouth. And, out of that scan, they produce this mould which is printed on one of our Multijet fusion printers. Then they prepare this invisible liner which they then ship to the customer. And, depending on how good your teeth are, you might have to do this 23 to 30 times over six months. They’re printing 50,000 moulds a day across a digital manufacturing line of 50 printers. They are disrupting dentistry at 60% lower costs and (are) more accurate.
You’ve been driving a lot of diversity and inclusion. Are you happy?
I am never, never happy with that progress. I think we can always do more. I grew up in Australia and have worked in countries around the world. What I realised along the way is the next 2 billion consumers won’t come from traditional bases, and that the power of diversity inclusion means that we can make much more meaningful products and services and solutions.
Source: Economic Times